Poem and Poet: E. E. Cummings & “i thank You God for most this amazing”

American poet E. E. Cummings never wanted his name printed without capitals, but somehow he became anthologized that way. And no, he never legally changed his name to lower case either. It’s true most of his poems were written without caps, reflective of his simple, pared-down writing style.

He reveled in his New Hampshire surroundings and saw in its landscape resonances with his inner life. In fact, he spent more time painting than writing poetry.

As we give thanks to God for all His good gifts, shelter and food, family and friends, and the common pleasures of life, one Cummings poem stands out, whose first line is “i thank You God for most this amazing.” Here it is with an accompanying audio recording of his reading below.

E. E. Cummings, “small woodland scene” (oil on canvas)

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)


This poem was originally published in Xaipe(New York: Oxford University Press, 1950). Xaipe is a nonphonetic transliteration of the Greek χαῖρε (chaire), meaning “rejoice.”

E. E. Cummings, “yellow sundown” (watercolor)
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Irwin’s Dad

I remember Irwin’s Dad
Drafted to war in Vietnam
And never came back.

But a coffin came draped in a flag
And all the tears his mother cried
Meant Irwin’s life had changed.

Irwin smiled at the stories I told
He was always the first to laugh
At my marionette dancing on stage.

Irwin was just four, his mother’s joy,
Me not much older but oh, I knew
He would always miss his Dad.

If you see a veteran today, remember
There’s an Irwin’s Dad they sorrow o’er
And a son like Irwin too.


On this Veteran’s Day, 11/11/2021, thank you to all the veterans who served our country!

For image attribution and a history of Veteran’s Day, click here.